Needle Book Mania??

I wonder if I have a “thing” about needle books. The first one I had I made in 4-H when I was 10. I never saw the use of it and never used it. Then I saw one my friend Mary Rowe had when I was in New York. I think it was her mother’s in New Zealand. It was the cutest thing I ever saw so I made one for my best friend’s 40th birthday years ago. She still uses it a lot of years later. [ click photos to enlarge ]

Last month or so a weaver/friend died and I took care of finding homes for her loom and stash. I found the most wonderful needle “cushion” in with her things. (The colorful one full of her needles.) It now lives on my new dobby loom. I had to weave some of my own! I’ve been dyeing with black walnuts so I thought I would dye the cloth and the pattern threads–what whimsy and fun that was. I made a lot for gifts when I travel. On the rest of the warp I had fun designing 4 new fabrics without changing the threading.

These are needle books I have lying around–in my sewing box at home and near my looms in the studio. In 4-H I learned that one needed protein fiber for pins and needles so they won’t rust. So all the pages are wool fabrics. (The new needle cushions are made with silk).

The round yellow crocheted needle book is like the one I saw in New York and made for my friend. The inner “pages” are made from scraps of wool overshot fabic I wove when I was an apprentice with Jim Ahrens.  The tiny heart shaped one I found in a sewing box at a thrift store–lovingly crocheted. The round, fat pin cushion with sashiko stitching I got in Japan and couldn’t resist it.

The last is a pin cushion I made and use now. We wove yards of this wool fabric in a production weaving class with Jim Ahrens at Pacific Basin School of Textile Arts in the 70’s. My inspiration was a pin cushion I got in Whales at a weaving mill  made from their scraps. The red book came from there, too.

9 thoughts on “Needle Book Mania??”

  1. What fun, Peggy – and I still have and use my needle book from all those years ago! Love what you are making.

    Any word re the show in china yet? My fingers are crossed for you.


  2. Hi Peggy,

    Very enjoyable post, thanks 🙂 Both the pictures and the story with descriptions were very pleasant to read and look at eating lunch with the Mrs. She says that in Batanganian dialect for the province of Batangas a big sized needle is “aguha”.

    Best regards,
    Mike and Glenn Kendall

  3. Thank you for sharing these delightful gems. I had never heard of using protein fibers to avoid rust, definitely something to keep in mind.

  4. What a lovely way to use up those leftovers! I would love to share this on FB with fellow weavers and up-cyclers. Always looking for ideas.

  5. Funny, great minds think alike. I spent January making some of these with my left over felting. It’s fun and they make great gifts. Thanks for sharing yours!

  6. I love the idea of making pin cushions. I have an old one of my mother’s that I still use. What do you stuff yours with? I believe polyester will dull the needles and pins. I have an old “tomato” pin cushion with the little “bud” hanging on it to sharpen the needles. I’m not sure but I think there is sawdust in that. What do you think? I agree with you about the protein fabric.


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